In January of 2010, FKEC’s Tavernier Operations Center was certified as a “Green Business” by the Green Living and Energy Education organization (GLEE). This Florida Keys non-profit group dedicates itself to educating individuals, businesses and policymakers within the Florida Keys community to promote sustainable actions through waste reduction, efficient and renewable energy, and the conservation of water and land resources.
The Green Business Program (GBP), is designed to provide businesses in the Keys with tools to lessen their environmental impact in the Florida Keys.
While many businesses enter the program as a means to help them go green, FKEC applied for certification to demonstrate how it was already implementing green practices in everyday operations. When building the new Tavernier Operations Center, FKEC maintained its vision to be as environmentally responsible as possible.
“During the entire construction of this facility we included as many green features as were possible and feasible,” explained CEO Scott Newberry during the GBP walk-through. “Along the way, we learned what was practical for us and what wasn’t.”
Following the Green Business Program application process, GLEE representatives conduct a walk-through of each facility seeking certification. Green Business Program Coordinator Bridget McDonald and board member Karen Beal examined the green efforts that are part of FKEC’s daily operations, including:
- High efficiency chillers in lieu of standard central air
- Digitally controlled air-cooling system
- Fluorescent lighting throughout the business controlled by a programmable master system
- 30,000 gallon cistern for watering and truck washing
- Water-saving toilets with two flush settings
- Louvered red “eyebrow” around exterior of building (directing natural light inside while helping to keep unwanted heat to a minimum)
- Solar-assist water heating and reflective white roof
- Coral rock mined from site reused at minimal cost
- Recycled building materials where possible
- Cross-ventilation system in the warehouse. In addition, the Cooperative also uses a biodiesel blend to fuel its bucket trucks and other fleet vehicles, recycles fleet tires, uses synthetic motor oil (better for the environment than the alternatives) and has two large, grid-connected solar arrays in operation.